Thursday, 16 September 2021
Ceisteanna - Questions - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions
Renewable Energy Generation
I must respectfully disagree with the Minister. Climate is not coming first in this regard. While it is positive the CRU and other agencies are looking at the issue, coming up with questions and looking at potential solutions such as the geographical distribution or conditions being placed on data centres, they are not there yet. In the absence of those rules being determined and put in place, the data centres are applying for planning permission and getting the planning permission. They will be entitled to operate under the planning permission they receive. Therefore, we will have a disparity. We will have a significant number of data centres that will be drawing off our electricity and renewable electricity resources and the systems are not in place. I understand there is a commitment in the programme for Government to bring in efficiency standards for data centres. I am wondering where they are up to and what the progress is on that.
The main question is, how many data centres is enough? At what stage do we say we have met our responsibilities from a data perspective? We will have potentially 50% of our electricity being used by data centres compared with 3% across Europe. Do we as a country have to take on Europe's responsibility here too?